Rally racing draws a certain kind of competitor. Rally drivers are the kind of people who think navigating unpaved, cliff side roads often at triple-digit speeds is a jolly good time. These guys have the skill and wherewithal to make it from the start to the finish without incident 99 out of 100 times…but it only takes one bad accident to end your rally career, or even your life.
Ford Fiesta rally driver Nicolas Diaz and his navigator Luis Allende who involved in a horrendous accident just 150 feet from the end of the first stage. Yet they both walked away, no doubt thanks to the extensive safety equipment their Fiesta rally car was equipped with.
Diaz was driving his Fiesta at a blistering pace, and it isn’t readily apparent from the video what happened that caused Diaz to lose control at the Rally de Catamarca in Argentina. Diaz later put out a press release that stated the Fiesta lost brake control, and then once that first wheel went over the lip of the road, it took the rest of the popping and hissing Fiesta with it. Amazingly, the Fiesta misses two groups of those notoriously-daring rally spectators before going into a vicious high-speed barrel roll that, in a normal street car, would be unsurvivable.
It’s one of the more brutal rally accidents we’ve seen this year, but thanks to roll cages, body harnesses, and modern helmets, such accidents are rarely fatal. We say rarely because 24-year old Gareth Roberts, a Welsh rally driver, died just this weekend after the car he was driving was impaled by a guard rail. Rally racing is as dangerous as ever, and these two Fiesta drivers know they’re lucky to walk away from that accident. Not that they will keep them from racing.